October 5, 2017 | Reflections from Sr Antonia
I am sitting in the sun under a clear blue sky watching a white capped ocean deliver its foam to the waiting sand. And I am thinking about mud! I am remembering a time when I felt as though I was ploughing through mud and… getting precisely nowhere.
I should imagine there are times for all of us in our spiritual lives when we feel as though we are ploughing through mud, or stuck in the mud. We may feel as though we can do nothing, that no matter how hard we are trying we are getting nowhere. And we wonder how we will be able to go on. We are stuck in the mud and God is absent.
If you have ever been in the situation where your car has literally been bogged then you will know that it is fairly certain you will not be able to out of that bog without some help. We usually need someone to tow us out. For most of us I would say this is both an embarrassing situation and one that is difficult to accept. We like to be independent, to have it all together to appear strong and resilient… even before God.
Sometimes life is not like that.
When I was three we lived on a wheat and sheep property near Wagga. My sister was thirteen months older than I and we had a baby sister aged about six months.
My mother awoke one night amidst a raging storm to the knowledge that she was in danger of losing the baby she was carrying… her fourth child. In a frantic race against time my father bundled her and the three of us into the car and headed out into the midst of the storm and darkness hoping to reach the hospital in the small country town seven miles away. Wanting to get there more quickly he took a detour through a neighbour’s paddock. The rain was torrential causing the creek to be flooded. Half way across the creek our car became bogged. He could not budge it even with the help of the tractor our neighbour had brought out to rescue us.
As the rain continued relentlessly my mother and the three of us had to be either carried or helped to wade across the muddy creek to ground that was still muddy but safer. Sadly my mother miscarried in the creek that night. The story of this tragedy was told quite often during the ensuing years and has imprinted itself on my memory.
Can there be a spiritual parallel I wondered.
The soil of my heart certainly needs to be softened by the gentle rain of God’s grace but what of that rain which produces a heart that bogs me down? If I allow the heavy rain of discontent, bitterness, regret, gossip and slander to muddy the waters that grace has graciously refreshed me with, there is most certainly the ever present danger of my being bogged in this heaviness, this sin.
Over the years I have learnt that it is imperative that I remain still, stop struggling and call for help. God cannot but hear the cry of the poor (i.e. the humble, powerless frightened soul). He will send his angels to “guard me in all my ways”.
I pray I will always be able to wait patiently knowing his coming is as certain as the dawn.